Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always the DJ’s fault if people don’t dance. Let’s look at a fictional example, for the sake of discussion.

Bill and Sue have just gotten married and are at their reception. For budgetary reasons, they chose to have an afternoon wedding at an outdoor venue in San Antonio. Knowing how hot Texas summers can be they chose to have their wedding in November. Since both Bill and Sue are in their mid-twenties, their guest list was a wide mix of their peers, co-workers, and extended family. They were pleasantly surprised by how many extended family members were making the trip to attend. They were also surprised by how few people got on the dance floor when the DJ started playing the country music they had requested and opened up the floor for dancing. The San Antonio DJ had come highly recommended by their wedding coordinator, but Bill and Sue were disappointed by the lack of participation in the festivities.

Here’s what Bill and Sue did right:

  • Chose a traditionally cooler month to have an outdoor wedding.
  • Hired a professional DJ for their reception.

Here’s where Bill and Sue could make some changes that would increase the likelihood that their guests would dance:

  • Given the DJ more genres of music to choose from.
  • Had the wedding after sunset or in a dimly lit, indoor venue.

Based on our experience at Cutting Edge Entertainment, we’ve discovered the following factors play a role in whether or not people dance at an event. If dancing is important to you, these are some key things to consider.

  1. It’s got to be dark. Even if your wedding happens at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, holding the reception in a dimly lit room with no windows will increase the likelihood your guests will dance. Something about the ambiance of darkness removes inhibitions.
  2. Keep it cool. If the reception area is hot, people are less likely to dance. Nobody wants to be a sweaty mess at a nice event. Events outside in Texas always present the possibility of being hot.
  3. Serve alcohol. See the previous comment about reducing inhibitions. It doesn’t have to be a drunk fest, but for many people alcohol says “party”.
  4. Give the DJ a few genres of music you enjoy and let him or her mix it up to find the sweet spot for your guests. If you want grandma and grandpa on the dance floor, you may have to break out the big band tunes. You may love country music, but if your guests don’t, they won’t dance much.
  5. Think sociologically. If you have friends and family who haven’t seen each other in a long time in one location, they may prefer to talk and catch up instead of dancing. View that as a win!

A DJ can only work within the parameters you provide. Give them an idea about the audience, and consider what might motivate your guests to cut a rug, bust a move, or kick up their heels.